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Sometimes, a turnaround is a good thing

Today's Bridge: I'm back on form, I think. After the opponents underbid what may have been a solid game in clubs and then bid game in notrump but missed it, I picked up S 9-8-7-x-x H Q-x-x-x D x C K-Q-x. Jerry, my partner, opened 1D, Dan H. overcalled 1H, and I felt I had just enough to bid 1S. Dan C. bid 2H, and Jerry bid 2S, so when Dan H. bid 3H, I felt the distributional values (my singleton plus Jerry's likely void in hearts, with nine trump between us) was worth 3S. He thought about it, then raised me to 4S. With his S A-J-x-x D J-10-x-x-x-x C A-x-x, things looked tricky but doable. The opening lead was the ace of diamonds, then the nine, covered with the jack and queen and ruffed low. I led a low spade, planning to finesse, but Dan C. went up with the queen, so I covered and led a low spade back. This time, Dan H. went up with the king, and Dan C. had the last spade. Dan H. tried to fool me with a low diamond away from his king, but it didn't matter. I ruffed, crossed to the ace of clubs, and ruffed another diamond with my last trump. I had to cash my remaining clubs, but then I could ruff a heart back to dummy and cash the remaining diamonds and the last spade to make an overtrick. I think that line loses if, as the early appearance of the queen indicated, Dan H. has three trump to the king, but I don't think I have any other choice. He's turned up with three spades, at least two diamonds, and five hearts on the bidding, so he's unlikely to have three clubs, meaning that I can't cash the clubs until I pull trump. If I do, he takes the king and leads the three to shorten my trump so I probably can't establish the diamonds and get back to run the rest. (I can use the jack on that trick as an entry and ruff a diamond, but if there's one more out, I have to lose it. I guess I then have the last trump to cover hearts, though, and clubs are stopped in hand, so I think I manage losing just the king of spades and two diamonds.) I landed Jerry in a 3D out of nowhere and the trump split was against him, but he prevailed by using my entries well and running the finesses through the long trump hand, and then I opened 2S with S K-x-x-x-x-x H 10 D A-x-x-x C J-x in second seat. Dan C. doubled, Dan H. took him out into 3H, and Jerry put us in 3S with S A-J H J-x-x-x D x-x-x C A-x-x-x - not bad, but I can see why he passed the double instead of raising the first time around. The opening lead was a club, and I saw no reason to duck. I led a second club to Dan H.'s queen, and he led back a diamond, which I also covered rather than duck. Now I could take the marked spade finesse, cash the ace, and exit with a heart. The opponents led back another heart, which I ruffed, allowing me to pull the queen of trump with my king. I exited again in diamonds, and when they split, I got the thirteenth diamond for my ninth trick, pulling in six spades, the two aces, and the long diamond. Finally, in a one-hand rubber, I had S A-K-Q-J H 8-5 D A-Q-x-x C K-J-10, and even with that weak doubleton, I couldn't open anything but 2NT. Jerry had to look at the convention card for a while, then ended up raising me to 3NT with S x-x H K-x-x D x-x-x-x C A-Q-x-x. When Dan C. led a diamond, I claimed my ten tricks on top, but the only lead that sets the contract is a heart higher than the 8. Dan H. in fact had six or seven hearts to the A-Q-J, but if he had seven, the contract's cold - Dan C. can only lead one heart because that's all he has, and if Dan H. covers, the king is a stopper. The only way I lose is if Dan C. takes the first heart trick and leads another. Then it's a disaster. This is why you only lead from your long suit if you have outside entries, and leading from K-J-x-x is probably a bad idea in any case. When that's all the power you have, you probably want to set up your partner's long suit, and in this case, with 4-4-4-1 distribution, the singleton was an obvious choice. But all in all, it was a good day and I'm glad things have turned around, even if only for one day.

Today's Work: The effort that I've been trying to talk the team lead into taking on finally looks like our best path forward, so that's what I'm doing. It's pretty challenging, but that's what the job is about.

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Yes, I'm THAT Nidoking. Sometimes I write fanfiction... often I waste all my time playing video games and watching anime. But it's not a waste if I enjoy it, right? I can quote from a movie, video game, anime series, or British comedy apropos of just about any situation, and one of my main goals in life is to entertain people. (The other big one is amassing as much anime and manga as I can... see below for a progress report.) That's me in a nutshell. ("Help! I'm trapped in a nutshell! What a bloody great nutshell this is!")
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